Tag Archives: America

Quit Your Kidding (or hiding)

quit your kidding

When I first read this button, I read it “Quit Your Hiding.”  So the story below, the one originally published about a year ago is about hiding.  Then someone posted saying, “Doesn’t that say Kidding.” Yeah, reading and spelling never were my strong suits.

This is another of those buttons from the 40s. This one seems like a kind of creepy, stalkery. The one time I remember hiding, when I really didn’t want to be found, was on a Fourth of July. For reasons of lack of rain, or jumping on the safety bandwagon, or some kind of general unamericanism, our little town had put a ban on the use of fireworks. Well, that got me and my three main buds pretty fired up, partly on principal, partly because at least one of us had invested in a paper bag full of fire crackers and bottle rockets. When night fell we put our foolproof plan into action. These fireworks would get shot off, oh they would get shot off.

We drove out to the fairgrounds, and two of us at one end of the street, and two of us at the other, we took turns launching bottle rockets at each other. When those were gone we started in on the firecrackers. At one point head lights appeared and we fled, every man for himself. Mike ran into a sale barn. He didn’t see the chain that had been pulled across the entrance. It caught him about hip-high and flipped him over onto his face. Good times, good times.

Once the danger was gone and we’d regrouped, we found we still had a few fire crackers left. We drove to the Skid’s house which was just across the street from the high school. High on patriotism and adrenalin from the recent chase, we stood in front of the school, lighting one Black Cat after another and gaily tossing them into the air to explode over our heads. That’s when the spotlight hit us. First we froze. Then we bolted the opposite direction of the patrol car that was headed our way. We turned the corner, sprinted a few steps down the one way street, and dove into the bushes. It was just Mike Skid and me. I don’t know what happen to the other two. We knelt in the bushes, head down, an appropriate pose for the situation, trying to make ourselves as small as possible. As the cop car easssssssed by, the spotlight swinging back and forth over our position, I whispered to Mike without moving my mouth, “We’re dead.” He responded in his own motionless whisper, “Shut up.” When the car had passed we didn’t hesitate. We burst from the bushes and sprinted back to Mike’s house in record time. The other two were already there. We collapsed onto the couch, happy for our freedom. It had been a successful Independence Day. God bless America.

Super Team Family #8

superteamfamily8

There’s a fine line sometimes between stupid and amazing. Super Team Family number 8 from 1976, lands squarely in amazing, especially the feature story starring The Challengers of the Unknown. This story and this team harken back to the pulp action heroes, before the days of Superman and super powers. The team is made up of four action men–a wrestling champ, a hunky scientist, a fearless pilot, and a circus acrobat. Any of these jobs could have made my top ten coolest professions when I was a kid.  Heck, they still would. As the team is introduced, we see them investigating Sasquatch and the gill-man and such.

Their mission in this story though is based a bit more in reality. Henry Kissinger, on his way to some very important peace talks, is lost in the Bermuda Triangle.  President Ford has no choice but to call out The Challengers. They take their sweet new high-tech plane into the triangle while their sexy girl assistant monitors them from their yacht.  The team is immediately sucked through the same rift in time and space that caught Kissinger. They crash land on an island that is inhabited by men from a variety of times and places (I noticed there were no women on the island. Hmmm.). There are Vikings, Mongol Huns, ancient Greeks, and soldiers from the 20th century. I think the idea is that over the centuries these guys all got taken through the mysterious rift. What the Vikings and Mongols were doing in the Caribbean I have no idea.  Anyway, the Challengers are immediately attacked by the guys who are ridding, get this, triceratops with sonic powers. The Challengers are nearly able to defend themselves, but the dinosaurs use their powers to knock everyone out.
The Challengers wake up in a cell with Kissinger. They are about to be taken before the judge where they will be given the option of agreeing to never leave the island or to accept the death penalty. Wrestling champ Rocky Davis tells the judge, “We choose to escape . . . even if it is against you’re stupid rules!” Sweet.  Unfortunately, they are overpowered and thrown back in jail. Fortunately The Challengers aren’t just adequate fighters, the are smart as well. Using the supplies they had hidden in their boot heels and belts they build an electric jail door opener. They then escape to their plane where they put together a device to counter act the triceratops’ sonic powers. In the process they see that their girl has driven the boat through the rift. A plan is devised. One of them makes his way to the boat (not the girl) while the rest, including Kissinger, fight their way to the plane past the paranoid island dwellers.

paranoid

Cuz you know, when have white American men ever given native peoples anything to worry about.

There are a number of fun fights in this story. The Challengers may not win every fist fight they’re in, but that doesn’t stop them from using their fists when they have to.

fight

Meanwhile, the boat horn is used to simulate the triceratops’ mating call, drawing them into the sea.

Faaart

Apparently the mating call is a giant fart.  Don’t ask why they didn’t all just go to the plane and fly away; these guys are scientists and know what they’re doing. As the fastest swimming dinosaur begins to make sweet love to The Challenger’s boat, the last Challenger is whisked away in the plane.

loveboat

Yeah. That dinosaur is doing that. To a boat. Sorry.

In the end, the challengers rescue Kissinger, who, as they fly away tries to say something poignant about the island men working together and if only the people of the world could do that, yada yada yada. Meanwhile The Challengers are thinking, yeah then we’d kick the people of the world’s ass just like we did those islanders.

The other story in this book stars The Doom Patrol and is a reprint from 1964. This story also stands firmly on the amazing side of stupid. The Doom Patrol is made up of a metal man, a shrinking/growing woman, a radioactive man, and the chief, a genius in a wheelchair who runs the show. Those are all cool powers, even if the chief is a little overused nowadays.
The Doom Patrol is fighting The Brotherhood of Evil (communists), led my an evil little person. Their plan is to use a ray that grows small things into large things to make war toys into full sized tanks and robot soldiers. Amazing. It’s a cool and corny story.
My problem with team books is they can get too soap-opera-y. That happens a little bit in Doom Patrol. I get it. You tend to develop feelings for people you spend a Iot of time with, but if I wanted a romance comic, I’d read one.  However, for the most part, these teams are about kicking butt, and keeping America in control of the world. Two uppercuts to the jaw, up.

The Power of Self Control

This was from just before American Independence Day of last year.

I’ve said before that One of the nice things about doing these communion meditations every so often is that it kind of forces me to pay attention to what god’s up to, at least in the days leading up to me putting one of these together.  But then there’s the weeks that are so busy, so crammed full, that it seems there’s not time to notice god at work.  I think god takes these weeks into account and then sort of hits you over the head with something.  Although I’ve become pretty good at not noticing being hit over the head as well.  But I noticed this time.

The other evening I was twisting some balloons at a VBS party.  And at this party, in order for the kids to get tickets to play games and such, they had to say this, or at least some of this: “God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  Paul wrote this to Timothy at a time when Paul was going through some tough times for his faith, and anticipated that Timothy would as well.  Prison-and-beatings tough times, not she-told-me-happy-holidays-instead-of-merry-christmas hard times.  So Paul and the early Christians, and even present day Christians in many parts of the world, but not the U.S.A., have reason to fear, and need to be reminded not to fear.  But  I want us to think about the last part of that verse.  We have been given the spirit of power, and love, and self-control.

So, as we celebrate our freedoms this week, I want us to remember these words of Peter Parker (The Amazing Spider Man)’s Uncle Ben:  “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  It is not only our responsibility to love, and to exercise self control, god gives us the power to do it..

We can love fearlessly and extravagantly.  We can love those who are near us, and those who are miles away.  We can love those people we don’t like.  We can love those people nobody likes.  We can love our enemies.  We can love the people we hate.  We know we should do this, but god actually gives us the power to do so.

And self control.  If we have reason to fear anything in this country, it’s excess.  But Paul says god gives us the power of self control, with the intent, I suspect, that we use it.  So, let’s not eat too much, or drink too much, or relax too much, or spend too much, or drive too much, or talk too much, or do too much.  Let’s appreciate all we have with the spirit of self control.  As we take the bread and the cup, let us remember Christ, our example.  Let us live simply and selflessly.  Let us appreciate our freedoms this week, and then use them to live and love quietly and humbly and powerfully.

Amen